October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Debate watchers split on who won VP debate

Danville, Kentucky (CNN) - Call it a draw.

Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night's faceoff. Forty-four percent say that Vice President Joe Biden was victorious. The Republican running mate's four point advantage among a debate audience that was more Republican than the country as a whole is within the survey's sampling error.

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Half of all debate watchers questioned in the poll said the showdown didn't make them more likely to vote for either of the candidates' bosses, 28% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 21% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.

According to the survey, 55% said that the vice president did better than expected, with 51% saying that the congressman from Wisconsin performed better than expected.

By a 50%-41% margin, debate watchers say that Ryan rather than Biden better expressed himself.

MORE: Romney calls Ryan with congratulations after debate

Seven in ten said Biden was seen as spending more time attacking his opponent, and that may be a contributing factor in Ryan's 53%-43% advantage on being more likable. Ryan also had a slight advantage on being more in touch with the problems of average Americans.

One of the top jobs for the candidates in a vice presidential debate is to convince Americans that they would be able to step into the top job if something happened to the president. The poll indicates that both men were seen as qualified to be president if necessary, by roughly equal numbers.

"This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday's debate in the coming days," cautions CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

One-third of the respondents who participated in tonight's survey identified themselves as Republicans, with 31% identifying themselves as Democrats, and 34% identifying themselves as independents.

"That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is more Republican than an average of recent CNN polls of all Americans," adds Holland.

MORE: Obama: 'could not be prouder' of Biden debate

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 381 registered voters nationwide who watched the debate questioned by telephone. All interviews were conducted after the end of the debate. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate gave Biden the edge over Ryan by a 50%-31% margin. Uncommitted voters made up roughly ten percent or less of the debate audience.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

soundoff (4,842 Responses)
  1. Concerned Democrat

    Oh yea where are the polls I want to vote because I bet that the results wouldn't be the same if everyone else could find the poll. Biden was on fire.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  2. wth

    um.... i don't know what debate you were watching.. because BIDEN WON!

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  3. mr

    Your headline is puzzling when your readers have voted as stated below on cnn.com – what are you fox news???
    Quick vote
    Who do you think fared better in the vice presidential debate
    Biden 65% 5553
    Ryan 35% 2962
    Total votes: 8515

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. Rod

    Of course there would be defensiveness about a declared Ryan win on a liberal website. The data speaks the truth, Ryan was the person who came out more trustworthy. Deal with it liberals. Conservatives won on your liberal web page.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Jim

    Definately Ryan! Joe Blow appeared to be a little punch drunk! He appeared to be more of a door to door salesperson selling "Malarkey". Look at the feeds on here to see who bought some tonight! LOL

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. KO

    Are you serious?? A CBS snap poll of undecided voters had it 51-31 Biden. Even though I will vote for Obama I can admit that Romney won the first debate. Who are these people you're talking to? No credibility at all with this poll–none.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. daytrippergirl1974

    Go to twitter. The entire nation is discussing Biden's inappropriate behavior. Bottom line, though, is that this is a poll of CNN viewers. It's not like it's an impartial jury, of course it's slanted toward the Dem side. Twitter's feedback is more of a slice of America, though, and it's overwhelmingly in favor of Ryan. I'm not a GOPer and I can see that.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. Rod

    Joe didn't do his boss any favors tonight with his snide rudeness. Too bad.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  9. Laurie

    Biden dominated, but he was like an obnoxious drunk at a party you can't escape from. I was undecided going in, but I thought Ryan did a better job of talking about how he wants to solve problems and didn't spend all his time being negative against the other guy. Biden was just annoying!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  10. ML Beach

    As a Floridian woman, unemployed for the first time in my life. It would have been nice that our VP took this a little more seriously.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. itsrba

    CNN, were you polling the republican spin room? You have lost all credibility with this self-serving ratings grabber poll.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    If yo call interrupting every single point that Ryan tried to make, grinning like a cheshire cat, having a moderator watch your back, winning , then I guess Biden won, and why does only Ryan have to prove a specific point, I did not hear Biden make any specific points

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  13. Sirned

    Ryan had no answers to how to pay for trillions of tax cuts and 2 trillion dollars of additional defense spending AGAIN...So we are to assume the Republicans will just spend the money then say oops I guess we will have to end all middle class and poor programs to pay for them... It's their plan don't vote against your economic interests...Biden rocked because he called out the lies...

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. bobo

    Biden nailed Ryan on his constant lies. Biden won hands down!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. Mark

    Oh dang this is really getting to you all..another one bites the dust.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. Graeme Cree

    Maybe it was disrespectful, but more than anything, the giggling just made Biden seem unprepared. EVERYTHING seemed to take him by surprise. It was hard to take him seriously when he kept projecting the idea that every answer he was giving was based on 5 seconds of thought to a question he'd never considered before.

    The guy is the Democrat Dan Quayle, and having him a heartbeat from the Presidency is starting to seem alarming. As President would he giggle in the Saudi King's face if he heard something he didn't like or didn't understand?

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  17. joel glassman

    W8y3r984y94y7ty##@ Since when did CNN get bought out by the GOP! Hands down Biden won. What about that SA smerk on Ryan's face!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. RJ1008

    Biden did great. At every step, he exposed lying Ryan. Is CNN watching the same debate the whole country is watching? BTW, Mitt rolling over the moderator was perfectly ok for the right wing crowd. Now it is rude when Biden did? At least Biden had facts on his side.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. ken

    Ryan won according to which registered voters? I don't think anyone asked my my opinion and I'm registered!!! My vote; Biden!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  20. ironage

    I don't think there was a clear winner tonight, to be honest. Both sides are exaggerating their candidates performance. My gut tells me, however, that the polls will continue to roll towards the Romney / Ryan ticket. If Obama doesn't greatly improve in the next debate.....Romney WILL be the next President of the U.S.A.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. Amanda37

    Biden won-no debating it!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. chance

    Thats funny. Biden totally emarassed Ryan. Its also very comical that republicans are getting on here and saying that Biden was rude and condesending too Ryan. You guys are the most arrogant, two-faced hypocrits ever. I didnt hear you guys crying when Romney was being very arrogant and rude to Obama. He constantly interrupted the President and the moderator. He acted like a smart ass kid that always has to have the last word. But you guys didnt seem to complain about that!!..typical republican BS..

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  23. Joe in Texas

    Biden came across like a complete loon. (which he is) All of the liberal lemmings on this board sound desperate.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. Piper

    CNN....am I going to have to boycott you? We ALL know Ryan got schooled by Biden.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. Karen

    Biden was hostile, rude and highly unlikable. Ryan was calm and too polite. Would rather have Ryan as a father and leader. Biden is a lose canon. And his debate preppers went over the top in an attempt to make up for Obama's dismal record and poor debate skills.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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